How to Make Oven Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a classic comfort food that never fails to satisfy. While stovetop mac and cheese is quick and easy, baking it in the oven adds an extra layer of flavor and texture.
In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of making creamy and delicious oven mac and cheese.
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- A pinch of black pepper (optional)
- A pinch of paprika (optional)
Step 1: Cook the Macaroni
Start by cooking the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions. Make sure to cook it al dente, as it will continue cooking in the oven later.
Drain the cooked macaroni and set it aside.
Step 2: Prepare the Cheese Sauce
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk continuously for about 1 minute until well combined. This creates a roux, which will thicken our sauce.
Next, gradually pour in the milk while whisking constantly to avoid any lumps. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer.
Step 3: Add the Cheese
Reduce the heat to low and add the shredded cheddar cheese to the sauce, reserving a small amount for topping. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated into the sauce.
Season with salt, black pepper (if desired), and paprika (for an extra kick).
Step 4: Combine Sauce and Macaroni
Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce, stirring until all of the macaroni is well coated. The creamy sauce should cling to each noodle, creating a luscious texture.
Step 5: Bake in the Oven
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the mac and cheese mixture into a greased baking dish or casserole dish.
Spread it evenly and sprinkle the reserved shredded cheddar cheese on top for an extra cheesy crust.
Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling around the edges.
Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!
Remove from oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This allows for easier portioning and prevents burning your mouth with hot cheese!
Serve your delicious oven mac and cheese as a main course or as a delightful side dish. It pairs perfectly with a fresh salad or roasted vegetables.
Note: Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese or add-ins like crispy bacon, sautéed onions, or chopped tomatoes to customize your mac and cheese.
Now that you know how to make oven mac and cheese, it’s time to gather the ingredients and dive into this creamy delight. Enjoy your homemade comfort food with family and friends!